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Author Topic: Help a newly independent understand what is going on!  (Read 4511 times)

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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2011, 07:21 »
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Another thing to keep in mind...some people are all gung ho for the PP at istock...but bear in mind, when they start distributing your images to a whole bunch of other sites, you aren't going to get a full accounting of exactly what money you are getting from where. You will get one lump sum accounted for from the PP. You aren't going to know what your image actually sold for, how much was given to the partner and how much you actually made. As your distributor, they aren't going to be responsible for doing that and they don't feel you deserve to know. You will be asked to trust them completely.


« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2011, 11:51 »
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Furthermore with the new image search capability of Google, if I was a customer I would always searched for the photo I liked in IS. Maybe it pops up in Thinkstock. If yes I would pay less and the contributor loses money.
Isn't Thinkstock subs only? If so, it fits the mass buyers, not the eventual buyers.

Thinkstock offers image packs - effectively credit packs - as well as subscriptions

« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2011, 12:33 »
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Here is my take as an exclusive:

1: I am exclusive because I save a lot of time focussing on one agency only.

My acceptance rate is over 90% so I dont have to worry about selling rejected files elsewhere. My files are being sold by several agencies within the Gettyverse. I also now have a house contract with gettyimages directly. I doubt I would have been able to get in there without istock. So I also have an additional portfolio on Getty that Getty seems to license everywhere - I now even have images on Corbis (although I am upset that my name is missing in the credits).

istock has always, always paid me on time since I started uploading in 2005. I never, ever, ever had to run after my money. I dont take that for granted.

Legal protection: because I am exclusive to istock/getty I just contact contributor relations if I see that one of my images was abused. For instance there were two cases where someone sold my image as his own on another agency. I just contacted istock and within 24hours my image was removed. They wont sue for damages because the lawyers are more expensive than the returns, but my image was gone. I didnt have to lift a finger.

istock Lypses and exclusive workshops.

Ive learnt a lot on those and think these events are great for encouraging community interaction.

RC system:

If I look at my credits/ download ratio Ive calculated that I need about 3400 downloads a year to remain at 35% (I see no problem with that). I would need around 12600 Dl/year to get back to 40%. Considering that I have hardly uploaded in the last two years (for other reasons, not stock related) the numbers look reasonable especially if there is enough growth on istock itself. If I could get back to shooting 150 images a month for 18 months I am sure I would have a real chance of getting back to 40%.

But of course: I would have very much preferred to remain at my diamond level.

I would need a lot less downloads if I had more Vetta or even a single Agency file. But I do "normal" stock, not art, so I have very few Vetta files.

2: PP programm

I have over 2700 images in the PP programm which nets me between 160 - 300 Dollars a month. Although I dropped a level in Royalties with the new RC system, the partner program is making up the difference. In the beginning I only opted in slow sellers or very old files, but in time my confidence grew and now most files are in PP. I dont have the impression that my downloads at istock are affected, many bestsellers in PP are not bestsellers on istock.

3: cant comment on the other sub sites

4: In the past there where many occasions when istock introduced a change and the contributors opposed it bitterly - torches and pitchforks and flames all over the forums when the prices where doubled from 50 cents to 1 Dollar...

But in the past, in many cases, istock was right and we actually made more money.

This time it is different, the new RC system lowered royalties for many, then other additional revenues were lowered or removed completely. And then the communication was nowhere near what istockers were used to.

I think the biggest problem is low sales. If we all saw a big growth in sales and money, the mood would be different.

The independents are also reporting that Shutterstock has overtaken istock as the biggest earner which in return frustrates also a lot of exclusives who are used to seeing their agency as No1.

With the new ASA it is obvious, that istock will be moving content around even more sites. So going exclusive now really means going exclsuive with the whole Getty universe of agencies and partners.

In the end it is a personal decision, if you feel comfortable working with one very large agency and their partners or if you prefer independence and maybe also want to sell from your own website. It also depends what other streams of income you have.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 12:47 by cobalt »

« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2011, 12:48 »
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^^^ Excellent post Cobalt. I don't personally agree with having 'all my eggs in one basket' but you do make a very good case for exclusivity.

« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2011, 12:53 »
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I understand the reluctance to only work with one distributor. I am balancing the risk with other streams of income. I teach workshops and I also do other things, not photography related. 

However, I do not work as a normal assignment/portrait/wedding photographer. Ive had a lot offers, but I really dont want to run after my money. I also dont want to hire people again. I spent 12 years as a small business entrepreneur with a team of roughly 10 people, but I really enjoy that I am now only responsible for my own mistakes.

« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2011, 14:14 »
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"I have over 2700 images in the PP programm which nets me between 160 - 300 Dollars a month"

I don't understand why that kind of amount would convince anyone to take a chance at damaging sales at IS, along with the other issues of TS. 

« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2011, 14:29 »
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Because I believe that they havent really got the program going (advertising wise). I am expecting a lot more money, otherwise it will never be a competitor for Shutterstock.

If it doesnt bring in a decent return in 2 years, I may pull it, I dont know. But they have to push the site first and I dont think they are. Ive been following the traffic stats for thinkstock and photos.com compared to many smaller sites mentioned here. And both sites have very little traffic. They will need to reach a level of at least dreamstime before I will see any serious returns.

Personally, I think they had a lot more IT problems than anticipated and JJ keeps talking about a whole new interface for all of istock/getty. I really would like to see what that looks like follow how it works 18 months, before I make any decisions. So - another 6 months, until they are ready (my guess), 18 months to build a track record.

The returns on the pp vary greatly, as you know. I havent uploaded a lot of files, so these are all old files (older than 2 years).

If I felt that it was hurting my portfolio on istock, I wouldnt leave the files there, but I am really not seeing that.

Here is the traffic for thinkstock:

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/thinkstock.com/

Looks like a pretty dead site to me. photos.com has nearly 40 times more traffic. But both are insignificant compared to istock.

So how much money can you expect from a site like that?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 14:50 by cobalt »

« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2011, 14:54 »
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Because I believe that they havent really got the program going (advertising wise). I am expecting a lot more money, otherwise it will never be a competitor for Shutterstock.

If it doesnt bring in a decent return in 2 years, I may pull it, I dont know.

I think they had a lot more It problems than anticipated and JJ keeps talking about a whole new interface for all of istock/getty. I would like to see that working for 18 months, before I make any decisions. So - another 6 months, until they are ready (my guess), 18 months to build a track record.

I'm a little surprised that you're earning as much as you are from the PP although I suppose it also includes Photos.com. We have fairly similar portfolio sizes and sales at IS so maybe I will be compensated more than I'm expecting for being forced over there.

I've always thought that TPTB at Istock didn't really want the PP at all and have just been going along with Getty's demands, in order to keep their jobs, but quietly doing as little as possible to make them work. I find it literally incredible that it has taken them so long to fix the 'conveyor' transferring images and why didn't they force independent contributors into the PP from the start? My guess is that Istock bonuses were based only on Istock's performance and TPTB figured that the PP was only ever likely to damage sales at Istock. I was surprised how many exclusives happily went along with it though despite the cryptic messages from TPTB through their obvious inaction.

Of course Rebecca has now arrived on the scene, unburdened by the history and sense of community of Istock, and thus we have an immediate change of policy. I wonder what's next?

« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2011, 15:06 »
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Well, Shutterstock has made it clear that there is a huge part of the market that prefers subscription. istock has a subscription system, but it isnt very successful.

Many exclusive members want a piece of Shutterstocks money. That is all there is to it. And to avoid cannibalisation on istock it should be done with a different site.

"We have fairly similar portfolio sizes and sales at IS so maybe I will be compensated more than I'm expecting for being forced over there."

You will only get 28 cents ... so it will probably be a lower return than mine. But if you look at how low in rank both sites are, they still have enormous growth potential.

Obviously Shutterstock is not going to just sit there and wait, they will come up with their own counter measures. But istock/getty should have enough money to bring them to a decent level.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 15:29 by cobalt »

« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2011, 15:47 »
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Many exclusive members want a piece of Shutterstocks money. That is all there is to it. And to avoid cannibalisation on istock it should be done with a different site.

I can understand that but the fly in the ointment is when you have Getty's sales rep's phoning Istock's biggest customers and adverts for TS on the Istock site and literature. Cannibalisation to some degree was always inevitable simply because the subscription model was already out there and it couldn't be uninvented.

I think Istock could have built a really good subscription model to grab their share of that market. They have the best content and in many ways the best website and they could have charged a significant premium for that. As it is they've ended up with a product which is pathetically inferior to SS and unsurprisingly has been something of a flop.

If you really want 'a piece of Shutterstock's money' I'm afraid you'll need to join them. Whilst Istock/Getty has been meandering around in their plot to attack Shutterstock's market ... Shutterstock have been extremely effective in attacking theirs. If I separate out my PPD sales on SS (from sub sales and EL's) they would now be my fourth largest agency. They're bigger than DT and right up the exhaust pipe of FT and, unlike most of the industry, are still growing strongly. This game has a long way to run too.

« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2011, 16:00 »
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Well, this will be istocks challenge: build a site that is even one third as successful as Shutterstock. It will take very passionate, dedicated people to build it, they cant do it by remote.

Money for advertising is necessary but it isnt everything. Brainpower to come up with innovative ideas and passion to drive you forwards are just as important.

« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2011, 16:24 »
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Remember, Istock doesn't call the shots anymore, Getty /H&F do. They see paying over 20% unsustainable, so where do you think they will try to drive traffic? As pointed out earlier, their salespeople were calling the big Istock buyer accounts to sell TS. The more content and buyers they can move away from IS the more they can sell at 20% or less for the artists. As an added bonus you get no IS sales to move up canisters or RC to increase your percentage. I wouldn't be too surprised if the long range plan is to gradually move sales away from IS in both directions so they won't have to pay those unsustainable percentages. Exclusives might even continue to make more money, but not as much as they would with their full canister royalties.

Every time I read an assurance from someone on the IS forum I want to add "yet" to the end of it. eg: "we have no single plans to move your content"...."yet". We all know how trustworthy their track record is.

jen

« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2011, 11:35 »
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Yeah, well, you can joke about the tinfoil hats but look at a lot of people's signatures...on this forum and others...lots of blogging going on, where someone posts innocent questions and has others do all the work and research for them, then blogs about it, getting money from ads and search engine placement. Don't even think about telling me THAT doesn't go on. So it's no wonder some people are suspect.

And no, I'm not saying that's what's happening here, but after all the fraud and theft and identity theft and stealing of images and clawbacks of money and missing money etc., I would think the whole intended cut-down of calling someone a conspiracy theorist with a tinfoil hat might be tempered down a bit. After all, this is a time when anyone can be scammed at any time.
I don't think it makes a difference if the OP is a plant or not; either way this is a public discussion forum and anyone can come here at any time and use your comments for "inspiration".  You can be offended by my tinfoil hat comment, but I was a bit put off by the suggestion that people who replied were being stupid / not thinking.  As if these aren't questions that have already been answered ad nauseam in microstock forums and blogs, and as if replying to a plant wouldn't be smart but if Joe Contributor with no ulterior motive came along it would be okay (even though the plant could still read those comments anyway).  Shrug.

« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2011, 11:44 »
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Yeah, well, you can joke about the tinfoil hats but look at a lot of people's signatures...on this forum and others...lots of blogging going on, where someone posts innocent questions and has others do all the work and research for them, then blogs about it, getting money from ads and search engine placement. Don't even think about telling me THAT doesn't go on. So it's no wonder some people are suspect.

And no, I'm not saying that's what's happening here, but after all the fraud and theft and identity theft and stealing of images and clawbacks of money and missing money etc., I would think the whole intended cut-down of calling someone a conspiracy theorist with a tinfoil hat might be tempered down a bit. After all, this is a time when anyone can be scammed at any time.
I don't think it makes a difference if the OP is a plant or not; either way this is a public discussion forum and anyone can come here at any time and use your comments for "inspiration".  You can be offended by my tinfoil hat comment, but I was a bit put off by the suggestion that people who replied were being stupid / not thinking.  As if these aren't questions that have already been answered ad nauseam in microstock forums and blogs, and as if replying to a plant wouldn't be smart but if Joe Contributor with no ulterior motive came along it would be okay (even though the plant could still read those comments anyway).  Shrug.

I'm not really sure how you are gleaning that bolded comment from my observation that whenever someone suspects something, they are called a conspiracy theorist or that they wear a tinfoil hat, but I guess we're even on the offended thing. Shrug.  ;)


 

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